“Ahmed talked about the oppression of the Khalifa family in the old days . If any of Baharnis were known to have a decent house, donkey or daughter they were robbed of it by the Shaikh” Belgrave Diaries
Bahrain’s security apparatus and secret police were established by the British, and were headed by Ian Henderson, “The Butcher of Bahrain” for 30 years. The rationale is that the people of Bahrain are basically the subjects of their (the British’s) subjects (the Khalifas). Add to that, the mentality of the ruling “conquering” family who believe Bahrain is their private property (owning 30% of its land) and its people are their slaves. With naturalization of foreigners to work in the security forces, things became messier for Bahrainis. The people were not only subjected to a colonial power, and a non-compromising ruling family; but also subjected to an uneducated and ruthless foreign mercenary force. Since Shiites are generally not allowed into security forces, the animosity they are faced with has an ugly anti-Shia and sectarian nature. The police and security forces feel no shame destroying their mosques, wrecking their cars, stealing their possessions, verbally abusing them and their beliefs, humiliating them, and even sexually molesting and abusing their children, men, and women. The systematic nature of such behavior means that it’s not just an anti-Shia sentiment that drives them, but a well-designed policy dictated from the high chair of the decision maker down the ladder to the recently shipped Pakistani mercenary.
Sexual Abuse is used and has been used systematically in Bahrain. The same methods used in the 80s, were used in the 90s, and are being used now. The main aims are to extract confessions and to crush the prisoner’s will and dignity. Of course, with time, it becomes just a normal perverted behavior of a sadistic security force. In a conservative society like that of Bahrain, a rape victim can face a multitude of psychological and social problems and in many instances refrain from speaking out. In recent events, the government is accusing protesters with all kinds of bogus charges, and most of the time these charges are baseless. Following an old protocol, interrogators force detainees to sign confessions after severely torturing them and sexually assaulting them, or threatening them with rape.
Below cases were documented after the latest uprising that started with protests on Feb 14. They are testimonies of people brutalized or detained by security forces. The below accusations and the nature of the subject and the crackdown suggest that there are many untold stories. The next report will provide testimonies of sexual abuse prior to Feb 14, 2011 demonstrating the mindset of the security forces and the government policy of crushing dissent by any devious means possible since Bahrain’s independence.
Post February 14, 2011:
1) In a short documentary “Bahrain’s Dark Secret” about recent events by SBS Australia, Nabeel Rajab describes a midnight raid on his house followed by his arrest. They used anti-Shia language with him, and threatened to rape him.
2) In the same documentary, a woman named Fatima expressed her sorrow over her husband’s arrest by 50 masked security personnel. She finds trouble describing how 5 men hit her, used profane-insulting language against her, and sexually harassed her. One of the men put his penis in front of her face.
3) Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, a prominent human rights activist, who’s in jail and facing charges, was threatened with rape. His torturers wanted to videotape him confessing and appologizing to the King; when he refused, he was taken to another room, where they used “foul language and threatened him with rape,” “they also threatened to rape his activist daughter.”
“At this point the men started undressing and showing their private parts after which they started touching (Khawaja) inappropriately,”
“When they tried to take off his pants, he threw himself down and started hitting his head on the ground continuously until he almost passed out. Seeing this they returned him to his prison cell.”
4) In a report in the Herald Sun titled ” Men raped, tortured in Bahrain”, interviews were conducted with 6 Bahraini men on how they were tortured. A 20 year-old named Mohammed, who claimed he had nothing to do with the protests, was detained, tortured and raped!
5) A female doctor was tortured by a female interrogator. The next day, a male interrogator threatened her with rape:
He told her: “You must have had Mutah with demonstrators at the (Pearl) roundabout,” “I will have Mutah with you,”
Another interrogator threatened her: “I will hang you from your breasts and rape you,”
She later signed the confession.
6) Ayat AlQurmuzi, a student who read a poem critical of the royal family was imprisoned. Her family said she was severely tortured and abused. They said her torturers spat in her mouth, and wiped her face on toilets. She was also threatened with rape, and exposure of degrading photos on the internet. And according to the Independent, pictures of Ayat began showing up on pornographic and dating websites.
7) 28 Shiite employees working in Bahrain International Circuit were detained, tortured and fired from their jobs. They were stripped out of their clothes.
According to one employee: “They said they’d rape us. They tried to touch you in various places to make you feel it’s going to happen.”
8)A woman doctor in custody was threatened with rape; a security officer told her: “We are 14 guys in this room, do you know what we can do to you? It’s the emergency law [martial law] and we are free to do what we want.”
9) AlJazeera English interviewed a 16-year old schoolgirl who was taken from school, detained and tortured for three days along with three other girls. She says the police officer took her head-scarf off by force after slapping her. Security officers swore and spat on them, called them “prostitutes”, and threatened to rape them.
10) A report by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) on the storming of Salmaniya Hospital by Bahraini forces, accused them of “torture, beating, verbal abuse, humiliation, and threats of rape and killing.”:
One of the armed men with a Saudi accent started shouting anti-Shia insults: “Grave worshippers! Sons of whores! Sons of Muta!”
An officer with a Jodranian accent threatened to rape a patient, named Ali. Ali was previously shot in the face with bird shot.
11) A prisoner in his 60s named Jawad told his family that they were forced to kiss a picture of King Hamad, and another of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia every morning. If they kissed them, their torturers would spit in their mouths; if they didn’t, they would urinate in their mouths.
12) France 24’s reporter Nazeeha Saeed was detained overnight; she was severely tortured, humiliated and insulted by female interrogators accusing her of links with Hizbollah and Iran. One of the interrogators held a plastic bottle and put it against her mouth; “Drink, it’s urine,” she said. Nazeeha knocked the bottle; the interrogator then poured it on her face.
13) Nabeel Rajab said he met another rape victim on June 12th. She was kidnapped, blindfolded, taken to a deserted area, and raped by secret police. She reported this to a police station with no results. This is the second reported case according to Rajab.